Not every wilderness area requires that a dog be on leash. The usual requirement is that the dog be under voice control (using a leash when riding horseback is difficult if not impossible). Unfortunately, most people don't train their dogs that well. Up here in the Pacific NW, leashes are required mostly in crowded areas (Columbia River Gorge, or along I-90 east of Seattle). Unfortunately, there is no enforcement, and an increasing number of dog owners pay no attention to the rules. I also see an increasing number of people not picking up after their dogs (or at least getting the poop off the trail) or, even worse, picking up the poop and then leaving the plastic bag with its poop alongside the trail rather than packing it out.

When I had Hysson (until 3 years ago), I kept him on leash where it was required, where there were lots of people, or in forest where I couldn't see far ahead or behind. I also kept him on leash the first hour of the day until he settled down. When we got to open spaces, I let him loose as long as nobody else was around and I could see a fair distance ahead or behind (no wildlife in sight). I also let him loose in really rough or difficult areas where I didn't dare risk his pulling me off balance. Usually after an hour or two of hiking, he was calm enough that he would follow obediently behind me along the trail. I discouraged him from going ahead of me, because he loved to stop dead right in front of me every time he encountered an interesting smell, which was very annoying. Although he regarded "come" as an optional command, "heel" worked every time--he'd come and sit alongside me so I could grab his collar.

While I found on my one visit to Yosemite that I could take Hysson on any paved trail (per a park ranger I met and quizzed), including to the foot of Yosemite Falls, most national parks aren't that forgiving. For instance, at Mt. Rainier a dog is allowed only in the parking lots or in the car campground (on leash at all times), and not on any trails, paved or otherwise. On the other hand, dogs on leash are allowed on the portion of the PCT that goes through Mt. Rainier NP. That's just one small example of how the rules differ from place to place.

Edited by OregonMouse (09/06/16 07:41 PM)
May your trails be crooked, winding, lonesome, dangerous, leading to the most amazing view--E. Abbey